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Partial Road Closure of Highway 130 (Hilo Bound Lane) Next Week

Hawaii Electric Light announces the partial closure of the Hilo-bound lanes on Keaau-Pahoa Road from Monday, Feb. 6, to Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017.

The makai side of the road, about 1,000 feet before Shower Drive, will be closed to traffic from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Pahoa-bound lanes on the mauka side of the road will be open for two-way traffic flow. Traffic control officers will be on site. Motorists are advised to drive with caution and plan for delays.

This week, Hawaii Electric Light crews installed four hurricane-class transmission poles ranging from 75-90 feet and weighing up to six tons. Next week, crews will complete the transfer of power lines and equipment from the existing poles to the new poles. The completion will allow the state of Hawaii to install traffic signals at the intersection of Keaau-Pahoa Road and Shower Drive as part of its road widening improvement project.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call 969-6666.

Sea Cliff at Kamokuna Ocean Entry Collapses – “Firehose” Flow Was No Longer Visible

HVO geologists hiked to the Kamokuna ocean entry today to assess the status of the sea cliff. When they arrived, the “firehose” flow was no longer visible. However, spatter (bits of molten lava) and black sand flying through the steam plume indicated that lava was still flowing into the ocean and interacting explosively with seawater.

Just below the left side of the steam cloud, a small shelf of the Kamokuna lava delta that survived the New Year’s Eve collapse can be seen.

Within minutes of HVO geologists reaching the ocean entry site, the sea cliff seaward of the hot crack (see Jan. 30 images) collapsed with no warning; fortunately, they were far enough away to not be in harm’s way.

The top photo was snapped just before the collapse occurred. The bottom image shows the remaining sea cliff after the collapse. Yellow arrows point to the same rocks in both photos for comparison.

The entire section of the sea cliff that was seaward of the hot crack collapsed, except for a small block of rock (left) at the eastern end of the crack; this piece of the sea cliff, estimated to be 30 m long and 5 m wide (98 x 16 ft), remains highly unstable and could collapse with no warning. During the collapse, rocks hitting the ocean generated a wave that propagated outward from the coast.

After the collapse, no lava was visible, but is apparently still flowing into the sea based on the continuing steam plume and explosions of spatter.

Yesterday, grinding noises could be heard coming from the crack, and the block of sea cliff on the makai (ocean) side of the crack could be seen to move slightly.

Press and Media Invited to Attend Huge Announcement at Ala Moana Shopping Center Monday

Click to enlarge

It sounds like something big is going to be announced between Hawaii Island Creations and Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker as I received a media invite to attend the announcement of a major franchise deal!

Posting this announcement with their permission since I can’t attend personally:

Zonta Hilo’s Mele Spencer Recognized at Hawaii State Senate

On February 1, Mele Spencer was recognized at the Hawaii State Capitol for assuming the volunteer post of Zonta International District 9 governor for 2016-18. The ceremony was arranged by State Senator Lorraine Inouye.

Mele Spencer with recognition at the State Capitol with Hawaii State Senators and members from the Zonta Clubs of Hilo and Leilehua.

Zonta is a leading global organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy.

“How super to have our state senators recognize Zonta International’s work to empower women across the world,” said Spencer. “What a personal honor for me. Big mahalo to Senator Lorraine Inouye for arranging.”

As governor, Spencer serves as the link between the district and Zonta International and administers affairs of the district, which is comprised of 25 clubs and 543 members in Hawaii, California, Utah, Arizona and Nevada. District 9 also includes seven Z clubs (high school) and six Golden Z clubs (college), one of which is at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

Spencer is one of 31 governors worldwide and nine Zontians in the United States serving as a district governor this biennium. She has been a member of the Zonta Club of Hilo since 1998.

16th Annual Feed-A-Thon Begins February 8th

Caring for Hawaii Island’s hungry has always been a challenge once the holidays have passed, as food donations slow down.  Fortunately, Kahikina Ching — the founder and organizer of the 16th Annual Food Basket Feed-A-Thon, has scheduled 10 days this month where residents and visitors may continue to help families in need.

Supported each year by Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union (HCFCU), this unique food drive will be held at HCFCU branches from Honoka`a to Kealakekua, and at select KTA Superstores around the island.

Food items and monetary donations will be accepted at all HCFCU branches Wednesday, February 8th through Friday, February 17th.  HCFCU staff will also sell special ribbons with all contributions going directly to the Food Basket.  See below for branch locations and hours.  For more information, please contact marketing@hicommfcu.com or 808-930-7700.

“Every day during the Feed-A-Thon we see our members and staff donating money and canned food. Whether it’s just one can or one dollar, every donation helps,” said Tricia Buskirk, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union President  & CEO.  “It’s so uplifting to experience these type of activities that strengthen our community as we show compassion, caring and understanding for one another.”

Tommy “Kahikina” Ching collecting food at the 2014 Annual Feed-A-Thon. The Food Basket photo.

Kahikina Ching will be at every KTA Superstore location during the dates and times below thanking people for their donations. Food and monetary donations are equally welcomed, because money donated is used to purchase food from KTA at wholesale prices.  According to Ching, “I can feed six people for just $2!”  To date, the Feed-A-Thon has provided more than one million pounds of food since the event began in 2002.

According to En Young, The Food Basket’s Executive Director, “Kahikina’s Feed-a-thon has always been a perfect complement to the services of The Food Basket. Through his activities we can continue to provide food for those who aren’t currently in a position to provide for themselves.”

Food and monetary donations may be brought to any HCFCU branch:

  • Kaloko: 73-5611 Olowalu St., Kailua-Kona, HI 96740; Phone: (808) 930-7700; Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Kailua-Kona: 75-159 Hualalai Road, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740; Phone: (808) 930-7700;
  • Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • Kealakekua: 81-6631 Mamalahoa Hwy., Kealakekua, HI 96750; Phone: (808) 930-7700; Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Kohala: 54-396 Union Mill Road, Kapaau, HI 96755; Phone: (808) 930-7700; Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Honoka’a: 45-690 Pakalana St., Suite A, Honoka’a, HI 96727; Phone: (808) 930-7700; Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

KTA Super Store locations and dates are:

  • February 8-9: KTA – Kailua-Kona  (Kona Coast Shopping Center, 74-5594 Palani Road, (808) 329-1677).
  • February 10-11: Waikoloa Village Market (Waikoloa Highlands Center, 68-3916 Paniolo Avenue, Waikoloa Village (808) 883-1088).
  • February 12-13: KTA – Waimea Center (65-1158 Mamalahoa Highway, Kamuela, (808) 885-8866).
  • February 14-15: KTA – Puainako (50 East Puainako Street, Hilo, (808) 959-9111).
  • February 16-17: KTA – Keauhou (Keauhou Shopping Center, 78-6831 Ali`i Drive, (808) 322-2311).

42-Year-Old Woman Dies From Wreck Last Week Identified as Chantel Kaaumoana

A 42-year-old Hilo woman has died from a single-vehicle crash the evening of January 23 on Haku Nui Road in Captain Cook.

She has been identified as Chantel Kaaumoana.

Chantel Kaaumoana

Responding to a 9:24 p.m. call, police determined that a 1981 American Jeep operated by a 34-year-old Captain Cook women had been traveling west on Haku Nui Road when the driver lost control of the vehicle, causing it to overturn. The collision caused Kaaumoana to be ejected from the vehicle and to sustain life-threatening injuries.

She was taken to Kona Community Hospital and then transferred to The Queens Medical Center on Oahu for treatment of her injuries. She was pronounced dead on Wednesday (February 1) at 11:34 a.m.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a negligent homicide investigation and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the incident or who has any information about the crash to call Officer Justin Hooser at 326-4646, extension 229. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

Because this crash occurred on a private roadway, the death is not counted toward the official traffic fatality count.

Aid to Independent-Living Seniors Focus of 2017 Kupuna Caucus Bills

Measures to sustain the ability of frail elderly to age in their homes with support services and caregiving assistance are the top priorities of a House-Senate package of bills submitted this session by the Kupuna Caucus.

The Kupuna Caucus consists of 54 House and Senate members, and a broad range of community organizations, government agencies, and individuals concerned about the well-being of seniors in our communities.

“These measures are aimed at helping seniors with some disabilities live out their lives at home, with help from State-sponsored services and family caregivers.  The vast majority of elderly prefer to age in place instead of entering a nursing home,” said Rep. Gregg Takayama, House co-convenor of the Kupuna Caucus (Pearl City, Waimalu, Pacific Palisades).

“This year’s Kupuna Caucus Legislative package includes bills that advance or expand a wide range and diversity of programs focused on the well-being of Hawaii’s kupuna,” said Sen. Les Ihara, Senate co-convener (Kaimuki, Kapahulu, Palolo, St. Louis Heights, Mo’ili’ili, Ala Wai)

A new measure this session proposes a Kupuna Caregivers program to assist community members who are providing care for elders to stay in the workforce by providing a voucher of $70 per day to secure elder care support services, such as adult day care, nursing or transportation.  SB534 is introduced by Sen. Rosalyn Baker, chair of the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection, and Health Committee, and HB607 is introduced by Rep. Takayama.

Kupuna Caucus measures:

HB608/SB528 – Supports full funding of $9 million per year for the state’s Kupuna Care program, which provides support services such as delivered meals and transportation to help disabled elders age in place.

HB609/SB529 – Funds permanent full-time positions at the University of Hawaii Center on Aging for an associate professor and associate specialist.

HB610/SB530 – Appropriates $150,000 to the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman for staff to monitor older adult care facilities in the counties of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui.

HB615/SB531 – Seeks $550,000 for the Healthy Aging Partnership Program, which provides fitness classes and helps chronic disease self-management.

HB611/SB532 – Provides $80,000 for appointment of a state coordinator for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia services.

HB612/SB533 – Supports full funding of $3.1 million to operate each county’s Aging and Disability Resource Center, which is a one-stop referral center for persons seeking support programs and services.

HB607/SB534 – Establishes the Kupuna Caregivers program (Kupuna Care Plus) to assist community members who are providing elder care to remain in the workforce by providing $70 per day for adult day care, nursing or other services.

HB613/SB535 – Requires health insurance policies and contracts to provide coverage for the cost of hearing aids.

HB614/SB536 – Appropriates $95,000 for a fall prevention and early detection coordinator to promote information that helps reduce serious falls by elderly persons.

HB616/SB537 – Appropriate $25,386 to create a program specialist position to oversee the foster grandparent program and senior companion programs in Maui County.

HB433/SB538 – Appropriates funds to the Health Department for posting of care facility inspection reports on the Department’s website.

HB432/SB539 – Makes financial exploitation of an elderly person by a caregiver a felony.

HB434/SB540 – Converts the long-term care community living specialist in the Executive Office on Aging from exempt to permanent civil service status.

HB431/SB541 – Establishes requirements for licensure of gerontologists beginning on 7/1/2018.

HB435/SB542 – Allows the family court to award a grandparent, upon petition to the court, custody or visitation if it is in the best interest of the child and denial would cause significant harm to the child.

“Sail With The Whales” Fundraisers Slated Benefit for West Hawaii Community Health Center

The 4th Annual benefit whale watching cruise is set to sail on Sunday, February 12 and Sunday, March 12, 2017. Community residents and visitors are invited to “Sail With The Whales” and help support West Hawaii Community Health Center’s mission to make quality, comprehensive and integrated health services accessible to all regardless of income.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Hyde watches as a whale swims underneath a Coast Guard Station Honolulu 47-foot Motor Life Boat in waters west of Molokai, Hawaii, U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Angela

This benefit 2-hour whale watch adventure aboard the Ocean Sports luxury catamaran takes off from Kawaihae Harbor at 12:30 pm, returning at 2:30pm. Check in time is noon. During the cruise, guests will enjoy the sounds of Hawaiian music from award winning slack-key (Kiho`alu) guitarist John Keawe.

With only 60 seats available for each cruise, these tickets will go fast for this exciting ocean adventure! Hurry and purchase tickets before you miss the boat!

Tickets are $100 per person and can be purchased by calling Terri at 808-329-0400 or email whchcdevelopment@gmail.com